Image: North Sea Port

Belgium and the Netherlands together on North Sea Port rail plan

The Belgian Federal Parliament unanimously agreed to work on a cross-border rail network for goods and people in the Canal Zone between Ghent-Terneuzen, a cross-border area of the North Sea Port. The Dutch House of Representatives had already done the same. With the backing of both governments, an important step is made in the further development of rail in the cross-border area between the Netherlands and Belgium.

The announcement of the Belgian Parliament came in Thursday 11 June. North Sea Port, the City of Ghent, the municipality of Terneuzen and the provinces of East Flanders and Zeeland said to be pleased that the respective parliaments have agreed to arrive at a common vision on the cross-border rail network for goods and people.

Railway line L204

In the Rail Ghent Terneuzen project, the five partners jointly investigated what exactly is needed to improve rail in the cross-border port area between Ghent and Terneuzen and to realise social and economic opportunities. The extension of the railway line L204 between Ghent and Zelzate towards the Axelse Vlakte in the Netherlands is on the programme.

The extension of line 204 to Terneuzen means a railway connection to the Axelse Vlakte – the large industrial estate under development in the Netherlands near the border. Through this connection, it is linked to the wider network including the Scheldt-Seine line from Terneuzen, Ghent to Paris.

Further development

The support of both parliaments is an important step in further developing rail in the cross-border port area for both freight and passenger transport. In this way, both countries continue to contribute to the development of North Sea Port, where 525 companies are active and as a result of which no fewer than 100,000 people have a job. North Sea Port is currently number three of European ports in terms of added value (14.5 billion euros).

Author: Majorie van Leijen

Majorie van Leijen is editor of RailFreight.com, online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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